Re: Identity

christophe delriviere (
Sun, 22 Nov 1998 20:50:31 +0100

Hal Finney wrote:

> >From hal Mon Nov 23 11:10:51 1998
> Message-ID: <>
> Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 18:58:11 +0100
> christophe delriviere, <>, forwards from
> > Abstract: Contrary to the popular notion that consciousness is the
> > result of a noble evolutionary process, I speculate that this rather
> > ill-defined concept and phenomenon may be the result of the
> fragmentation
> > of an otherwise completely connected and totally ~Qfeeling~R
> universe. As
> > various regions of this universe topologically pinch-off from the
> whole,
> > connection-sparse boundaries form over which sporadic and
> impoverished
> > information exchange takes place. Supplied with only scanty clues
> about
> > the state of the external world, abundant internal chaos drives
> these
> > small parallel processing islands into multiple ~Qinterpretations~R
> of
> > the environment in a process we identify with perception. With
> further
> > division of these regions by insulating partitions, the resulting
> > subregions activate to lend multiple interpretation to the random
> > activations of others in a manner reminiscent of internal imagery.
> The
> > spontaneous invention of significance by this weakly coupled
> assembly
> > of simple computational units to its own overall collective behavior
> is
> > what we have grown to recognize as biological consciousness. We
> thereby
> > come to view human cortical activity as a highly degraded
> approximation
> > to the original and prototypical cosmic connectivity.
> These universalist theories of consciousness always seem to have the
> property that our livers should be conscious. They are pinched off
> from the rest of the universe just like our brains; they receive data
> about the state of the external world as our brains do (in the case
> of the liver, via chemicals in the blood); they even have a sort of
> model of the outside world in the sense that they try to maintain
> an equilibrium that is appropriate for current conditions.

yes i somewhat agree with you... but it's simply a problem of terminology isn't? what they are caalling feeling and consciousness is a rather different notion than the usual ones

> If we explain consciousness by saying that the universe is somehow
> conscious, and the brain is just a pinched off piece, then we have a
> hard time explaining why all the other pinched off pieces aren't
> conscious.

depend what conscious means in the context... just a matter of definition and the article i've proposed... the "feeling" of the universe is just reduced to the state of physical interactions, i can't, at this moment, see something wrong with that.

> David Chalmers proposes a similar theory. He suggests that the
> universe
> is filled with what he calls "proto-consciousness", every atom and
> particle imbued with a little bit of this mysterious stuff. Only when
> it is combined together in the proper way does it form consciousness
> as
> we know it. All we have to do now, he says, is to discover the laws
> which control when and how proto-consciousness combines to form true
> consciousness.

a priori, THIS kind of theories seem somewhat ridiculous for me too. But i think the article i've proposed don't talk about anythink like that...

> Personally I think he's just trying to sugar-coat an unpalatable
> theory.
> We can't be sure that livers and baseball's *aren't* conscious.

a simple matter of terminology in the proposed paper.

> For all
> we know, they could have a merry internal life, full of laughter and
> love. But still the idea seems ridiculous. By saying that they're
> not
> conscious, they're just "proto-conscious" (and not defining what that
> means), Chalmers hopes to escape derision. But there's no more reason
> to believe that they are proto-conscious than that they are conscious.
> It's really the same idea, just dressed up nicer.

i believe, the article i've proposed tell nothing about such things... perhaps you should read it ;)...all these new ages things are not for me too...